NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- With all the election coverage, it might be hard to believe we're still over a year away from electing our next commander in chief (and longer still from the day our next president assumes office). Whoever next inhabits the oval office will have tough fights ahead on multiple fronts, with the added bonus of needing to work with an opposing party during highly contentious times. Who do Americans think is best equipped for the job? Well, that depends on which part of the job we're talking about.
With 38% of Americans rating the job market in their region poorly, jobs are likely to continue to be a major issue in the race for the White House. Though this stat is greatly improved from negative sentiments captured in October of 2013 (48%) and 2011 (67%), it still outpaces current positive ratings (32%).
When asked (in open-ended questioning) which presidential candidate they think would best improve the U.S. job market, Donald Trump is the top response (26%), followed by Hillary Clinton (20%) and more distantly by Bernie Sanders (12%). No other candidates are mentioned by more than 3% of U.S. adults (and only Ben Carson even rates that high), though it's worth noting that the much higher number of Republican candidates is likely a contributing factor in low scores for other GOP candidates.
- Trump is the dominant figure among Republicans, with 47% naming him as the candidate who will best improve the job market. Carson is far behind at 7%. Trump also leads among Independents (26%), albeit not in quite as decisive a manner; Sanders (14%) is second among this group, narrowly ahead of Clinton (13%). Clinton leads among Democrats (to the tune of 40%), followed by Sanders (17%) and Trump (13%).
- Looking across generations, Trump (19% Millennials, 29% Gen X, 30% Baby Boomers and 31% Matures) is the frontrunner on this issue across all generations except Millennials, among whom he shares the top spot with Clinton (19%, 17%, 23% and 23%).
- While women (28%) and men (25%) show a similar likelihood to name Trump, women are more likely than men to point to Clinton (23% vs. 17%) while men are nearly twice as likely as women to look to Sanders (15% vs. 8%).
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,225 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 14 and 19, 2015. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.
When asked more broadly to say which party they think is likely to do better at improving the job market in the U.S., 34% say Democrats and 30% select Republicans, with another 30% unsure. Focusing specifically on what Independents think, a plurality say they're simply not sure (38%), though Republicans (29%) do pull ahead of Democrats (22%) among this group.
Reaching across the aisle
Lately it seems tough even to get a consensus within the major parties, let alone to get them to work together. But nevertheless, whoever Americans elect will need to be able to govern, and that can often mean working with members of the opposite party to do what's best for the country. When asked (again in an open-ended manner) which candidate they feel will best be able to do this, Hillary Clinton (23%) is the clear frontrunner, followed by Donald Trump (14%), Bernie Sanders (13%) and Ben Carson (8%). All other mentions are at 2% or lower, though again it's worth noting that many GOP candidates could be suffering from the sheer number of contenders their party currently has in the field.
- Clinton puts in a strong showing among Democrats, with 45% saying she'd address this issue best, while 18% name Sanders. Trump (28%) leads the Republican field, followed by Carson (16%). Responses are tightly grouped among Independents, with Clinton (15%) narrowly ahead of Sanders (14%), who edges out Trump (13%), who in turn manages a small lead over Carson (11%).
- Clinton leads across all generations (24% Millennials, 22% Gen X, 24% each Baby Boomers and Matures), while Matures are less likely than their younger counterparts to feel the Bern on this measure (17%, 16%, 10% and 3%, respectively).
- Meanwhile, women (27%) are more likely than men (20%) to name Clinton, though it's worth noting she holds the lead among both groups.
As for who's trying to work across party lines to do what's best for the country right now, just over half of Americans (53%) feel President Obama is trying to do so. Just under half (47%) say the same of Democrats in Congress, while roughly a third (32%) believe Republicans in Congress are trying to do so.
Ratings for the President and Congress we've got right now
Four in ten (41%) Americans give President Obama positive ratings on his overall job performance, identical to last month but well ahead of the 34% giving him positive ratings a year ago. Four in ten (41%) also give the President positive ratings for his efforts in relation to the economy, up marginally from last month (39%) and more substantially from a year ago (33%).
- Strong majorities of Democrats give the President positive ratings (72% both overall and on the economy), while considerable majorities of Independents (66%, 65%) and vast majorities of Republicans (89% each) rate him negatively.
- Millennials rate the President more highly than their elders, both in general (50% vs. 36% Gen X, 37% Baby Boomers, 38% Matures) and in relation to the economy (48% vs. 36%, 37% and 40%, respectively).
Ratings are up for Congress as well, though in this case "up" simply means positive sentiments have managed to make it back into the double digits (at 12%, up from 9% last month and 8% a year ago).
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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 14 and 19, 2015 among 2,225 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.
The Harris Poll® #67, October 28, 2015
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll
About The Harris Poll®
Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit us at TheHarrisPoll.com
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SOURCE The Harris Poll